my first peony

Kristin_1902(z8 AL)April 11, 2005

I bought my first peony (festiva maxima) at a plant sale on Sunday. We planted it in a fairly sunny spot in a flower bed mulched with pine needles. Basically, I have no idea what I'm doing and could use some pointers!

The plant is about 16 inches tall right now and has no buds yet.

Any pointers for a super beginner? Assume I know nothing about gardening, and you'll be right!

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Kristin_1902(z8 AL)

I read Jazzmom's article mentioned in another thread. It said peonies need well-drained soil. The spot I planted my peony is on a slight slope ... would that be good enough?

    Bookmark   April 11, 2005 at 3:40PM
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MichaelB_MAz6(z6 Malden, MA)

Its in the ground, its fine as long as its planted at the same level as it was in the pot , assuming you did buy it in pot. If not about an inch below the surface.

A slope is great for drainage. Peonys are tough plants, but water it this year while it is getting established.

It probally won't bloom this year and whne the leaves die in the fall/winter cut them back to the ground. Next year it will grow again and probally get blooms.

Good Luck,


    Bookmark   April 13, 2005 at 2:04PM
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gmfairchild(7a GA)

Knowing absolutely nothing about peonies last summer (August), I purchased a plant from Lowe's that was about 8 inches tall and had one bud on it. I planted it in a sunny spot and within 2 weeks it shriveled up and died, even though I kept it watered regularly. I was shocked to see that it came back this spring and was so excited. It had one bud on it and I was anxiously awaiting to see what color it would turn out to be, but before it opened, the stem holding the bud got bent over to the ground. I staked it back up this week, but it doesn't look like it's going to bloom. Will this be the only bud I get out of this plant this year, or is there still time for more buds to emerge? I have no idea what type of peony this is, so I don't know if it's an early, mid or late bloomer. Do most of the buds open at the same time or do peonies bloom over and over during a season? And how long do the flowers last on the plant before dying out if I were to have any blooms? Thanks to all of you for the great information I've read so far on this forum.


    Bookmark   April 19, 2005 at 2:58AM
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Some peonies take a few years to get established before you have regular blooms. This is probably the only bloom for this year. However it could be posible that other stems may come up with buds. The length of time that it takes for the buds to open depends a lot on temperature. If your plant has a central bud (next year?) and then side buds, the central bud will open first then the side buds. The plants that have only one bud to a stem appear to bloom all at one time over a short period. The side budded ones may take from a few days to a week for additional flowers. Best way is to have both tree and regular peonies. In my area the small species start blooming, then the trees some years the earlier flowering regular bloom with the trees some years later. If you have room you can have maybe flowers for two months by using early -late blooming peonies. Look at the catalogs or websites many mention if plants are early to late blooming. Again this depends on where the plant is located. Planting in partial shade can retard the blooms. Which in my area is good. My early tree peonies have bloomed in Feb then we had a hard freeze of 4F in April. This year one specie started blooming week before last and because of the 70F temperatures some of my tree peonies bloomed Sunday and the petals are falling.

    Bookmark   April 19, 2005 at 10:03PM
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gmfairchild(7a GA)


Thank you so much for the information. As I said, I knew absolutely nothing about peonies when I bought the plant last year but, after seeing an article about them in Southern Living magazine, I have become more and more entranced by their beauty, so I will try to plant several different types with different bloom times to add to my yard. I didn't even know that the plants go dormant in the winter, so when mine shriveled up and died last year I thought it was gone for good. I was so ecstatic to see it emerge again a few weeks ago and have been reading everything I can about them. I'll just have to try to be patient and wait to see what next year brings. Because of their beauty and with so many varieties to choose, I can easily see how people can become addicted to growing them.

Just one more question, please: I have tulips planted all around the area where I planted my peony (within a foot of the plant). Since my tulips bloomed at almost exactly the same time that the peony showed its bud, do you think I should move the tulips farther away and give the peony more room? Thanks so much for your help!


    Bookmark   April 20, 2005 at 12:56AM
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Gail, most tulips lose their vigor after about two years and have decreased or no bloom until the bulblets grow to maturity. You can safely leave the tulips where they are. You may want to plant tulips or other bulbs in the areas between your peonies. The foliage of the peony will cover the foliage of the tulips as the tulip or other bulb matures. You may, and others will disagree with me, plant companion plants especially shallow rooted plants with your peonies as long as you allow space arround the root area. I suggest annuals because as the peony becomes larger you can plant at a further distance from the peony each year with out digging up the soil very deeply. I use the old discarded table or cooking spoon to dig a shallow hole to plant the annuals. The small bulbs such as snowdrops etc. don't need to be planted very deep generally 2-3x length of bulb.

    Bookmark   April 20, 2005 at 10:43PM
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loretta5_gw(Z6 PA)


Peonies like alkaline soil. Pine needles are acidic. Add some lime to the peony's bed for best results.


    Bookmark   April 28, 2005 at 10:43AM
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